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Happy Birthday, Lil Wayne!

Lil Wayne
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Lil Wayne is truly a veteran in the rap game. The New Orleans rhymer celebrates his 35th birthday today (Sept. 27)

There’s a time when Weezy had a legit claim to being the Best Rapper Alive despite music curmudgeons’ protests. The Young Money leader went from the Hot Boys’ nasally, pipsqueak rhymer to a star in his own right, filling in the space left by Jay Z’s brief retirement. Wayne toted blunts daily and tightened his prose right after Tha Carter to make a modern classic in Tha Carter II.

While many rap heads consider Tha Carter II his best, history will remember Weezy for the hot streak he went on from 2006-09. Wayne demolished every beat he touched on such projects like Da Drought 3 and Tha Dedication 2. He was all over the radio for months and seemed infallible with the Young Money Empire he built around him. Tha Carter III, the last hip-hop album to sell a million in a week, crowned him king.

Wayne’s hot streak was stopped by a prison sentence for weapons-related charges. Since then, Wayne’s career has followed a frustrating pattern: A promising hit followed by a disappointing follow-up. It started with “6 Foot 7 Foot,” a punchline-laden song that introduced the world to Cory Gunz. Tha Carter IV nearly went platinum in its first week, but most critics thought it didn’t meet its predecessor’s high mark.

Wayne has embroiled in a legal battle with his mentor Birdman as he fights for his freedom from Cash Money Records. Fans have been patiently waiting for Lil Wayne to release his oft-delayed album, Tha Carter V. Although internet troll Martin Shkreli has been leaking tracks from the supposed project, people are still wondering if the LP will ever be released.

In a recent interview with Q93’s Wild Wayne, Weezy says Tha Carter V is done and he’s going to drop it when the time is right. “I just don’t want to put it out the wrong way,” he said. “Honestly, I can do what I want at any time.”

Despite whatever obstacles, Weezy still looms large.

Next: Who Said It: Lil Wayne or Donald Trump?

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